This summer I worked for a grassroots radio station in Montreal, Canada. It was a fascinating insight into the world of media and also helped me develop important social research skills. The radio station operated on a collective management system, which meant I was involved with the decision-making at the station and immediately given full responsibility over the content I was producing.
I was working as part of the News Collective, which was a group consisting of a number of volunteers who contributed material to a daily News show. At meetings we were given a folder of all the recent press releases, covering stories around the Montreal area, and encouraged to pick out any we would be interested in exploring further. The News show focused on community stories, which were often neglected by mainstream media channels. For example, during my time working at the station I had the chance to interview a family facing deportation, covered a demonstration about immigration policies and talked to a local author about her book on Indigenous language education. I was also given the chance to host the radio show and to learn about how each show was produced and aired.
I was a little worried before arriving, as the station operated bilingually in French and English, and my A-Level French days seemed a long time ago! But everyone was extremely friendly and very accommodating with my broken language skills. I was also nervous as I had never been involved with radio production before, so I knew that there was a lot to learn. The staff at the station and the other volunteers were extremely helpful in showing me how to use the equipment, how to edit the audio content on Reaper and giving me tips about interview techniques.
I learned an incredible amount at my time at the station. It opened my eyes to the world of radio production and allowed me to gain hands-on, technical skills. It was also a fantastic way to learn more about the issues going on in Montreal which were happening out of the mainstream media spotlight. Additionally, I was able to develop my social research skills, which are a key aspect of my Psychology and Linguistics degree. After graduation I would really like to apply to the Government Social Research Civil Service Fast Stream and I feel I have gained lots of relevant experience. Volunteering at the radio station gave me a chance to talk to people about many aspects of social justice, connect with grassroots organizations across Montreal and learn about another country’s social system.
Thank you to the Principal’s Go Abroad Fund for your support and allowing me to have such an eye-opening and valuable experience this summer!